Thursday, May 25, 2023

Big Underwoods are in the area

Not often seen in-the-wild at thrift stores around here; large Underwood standard typewriters.

The first standard spotted was this venerable Underwood 5.

Sharp-angled front plate, so pre-1923. Has a backspace, so post-1907. No variable line-spaced pull-out knob, so pre-1914 or so. At least a century old then. 

There should be a serial number there - the area is however covered in orange-red rust.

With a bit of spit & rubbing, it became readable. Nice, curly, old-fashioned numbers. Later checking against The Database, serial-number 287069 makes this I think a 1908 machine. 

It seemed complete and mostly undamaged, but rather rusty.

Although it is was a magnificent typewriter, this amount of rust and a 30 Euro price-tag meant it stayed put at the thrift store.

The second standard seen was a modern, streamlined Underwood SS.

It is a strange machine; on the one hand looking modern with the crinkle paint and chrome trim, but it still has the basic old-fashioned shape of the original early 1900s Underwood. Could be said to be a dressed-up Nr. 5 almost, but actually nearly every part is re-designed; all castings are different, the linkages are different and it's got segment shift. But it still very much echoes the Nr. 5. 

This machine was missing the left chrome trim, had jammed-up keyboard, mixed-bag key tops and did not work. The state of this typewriter probably destines this one for recycling. Many (most) of the big standard machines offered for sale never get bought and will ultimately end up being handed in as scrap for recycling.

The serial number 11-6195525 would make this a 1947 machine. Am not very clear on the actual model-names for this period, but I assume this is an 11" platen model SS.

The draw-band is present, but flopping about the insides. That's only one reason the carriage doesn't move, the escapement also doesn't work when pulling the carriage along by hand.

Although as a post-war machine it's outside my collecting scope, this is a big standard that I did actually buy - for the reasonable sum of 15 Euro. Two metal spools included (already taken off in the pictures).

Before this one's eventually going into the smelt, parts will be taken off to fix other machines. (The parts salvaged a few years ago from a rusted-up '29 Remington Portable fixed several machines already.) This big, damaged standard will also provide US-threads slotted-head screws - otherwise hard to get here.

Still a very imposing typewriter - very heavy too :)

This one will be a parts machine, donating bits to repair other machines.

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